First Zion Canyon Native Flute School

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AUTHOR: Bill Brown

Something new is coming to Zion Canyon this summer. The people who brought you the Zion Canyon Art and Flute festival, are now proud to present the first Zion Canyon Native Flute School.

The school will be held in conjunction with the Flute festival, said Betina Lindsay, organizer of the festival and education coordinator for the school.

Lindsay, who is one of the originators of the school, said she helped start the school for a purely selfish reason.

“I wanted to learn to play my flute better,” Lindsay said. “So I thought that this would be a good opportunity.” She added she believes this is the only Native American Flute School in the country, making it unique.

Zion Canyon Native Flute School

She took her idea to the city of Springdale, and they agreed it would be a worthwhile project, and so with the backing of the city and the Art and Flute Festival committee, the Zion Canyon Native Flute School was formed.

The school is designed to accommodate all levels of musicians, Lindsay said. It will teach students to play with confidence, appreciate and understand basic improvisation techniques, an enthusiasm for music and play, and the instinct to be able to add your sounds to any kind of music. According to the brochure, these skills and others will be addressed at the school.

Currently the school will take the form of a three day workshop, attached to the Zion Canyon Art and Flute Festival. It will take place directly preceding the festival, starting on June 8, with registration at 7 p.m., according to the school’s schedule.

Schedule of Events

Instruction proper begins early the next day, with a stretching and movement session at 7 a.m.

The morning session on each day is focused instruction on flute playing and techniques. It is divided up into three tracks, Lindsay said. The first day, during the morning session, everyone explores their inner musician, guided by Clint Voss and Vera Shanov. This helps the students and instructors to get to know each other, and get an idea which of the three tracks would be most beneficial for each student.

“(Finding your inner musician) is a playful, experiencial, exploration, with music and rhythms,” Lindsay said. “You don’t have to know music, theory, be able to read music, or know notes or anything, to play the flute.” She added everyone has a musician inside. This is a way to help awaken that musician. There is no right or wrong in this, she said.

Subsequent mornings are divided up between the different tracks, Lindsay said. Track one is for those will no experience, and teaches basic breathing and playing techniques.

Track two is where most people will end up, Lindsay said. It is for intermediate players, and will utilize expert instructors to help expand skills and talent. The advanced track is taught by Vince Redhouse, and will have a more in-depth focus and concentrate on more advanced techniques, Lindsay said.

According to the brochure some of the topics covered include music elements; Native Flute modes, techniques and ornaments; basic improvisation techniques; song formats and settings and styles.

Each day of instruction lasts until around 9 p.m., Lindsay said, just because there is so much to learn.

Instructors are experts in playing the Native Flute

Lindsay said the instructors will be coming from all across the nation, all of them experts in the Native Flute. They are excited to be participating in this effort she said. And the public is responding as well, she said. Many people from all over the country have already signed up for the school, she said.

“We even have one man taking leave from the military and coming in from Germany, where he is stationed,” Lindsay said.

This is the first time they are offering the school, Lindsay said. However, she has hopes they will be able to offer classes on more permanent basis. She foresees offering special classes throughout the year, and a full workshop like this at least once a year.
Lindsay feels strongly there is a musician in all of us, looking for a way out. She invites everyone to come and get in touch with their inner musician.

“In the words of the late song keeper and flute maker, Hawk Little John, ‘Music is in all our spirits. If you sit in quiet place, and randomly play the flute, magic comes.’” Lindsay said.

According to the brochure, advance registration is required.

The school runs June 8 through 11 at the Canyon Community Center in Springdale. Space is limited. Cost for the three days of instruction is $349 per student. For those who do not have a flute already, loaner flutes will be available, Lindsay said.

For more information about the school, contact Betina Lindsay at 772-0778, or visit their Web site at www.zioncanyonartandflutefestival.com.